Every divorce is different, and some are far more difficult than others, but it is rare that one goes 100% smoothly and without pain.
Even if your divorce does not involve several assets or child custody issues, you can still experience angry disagreements about the division of property. If the division of assets is the worst part of your divorce, you may be fortunate.
When the time comes to protect your interests and get through the process, having a family law firm with qualified divorce lawyers in your corner may be the most important step you take. Melone Hatley, P.C., attorneys at law are knowledgeable and compassionate divorce attorneys. We are eager to help you work through this difficult time.
This guide will teach you how to identify and avoid the ten most common mistakes people make in a divorce.
Melone Hatley, P.C. is a compassionate family law firm in Virginia that is ready to provide invaluable legal representation in your divorce case. Our divorce lawyers are experienced, caring, and aggressive. We are among the most highly rated firms in your local lawyer directory, and we offer what we call “big law firm experience,” but in a small and personalized setting. We are not a massive, faceless PLLC law firm, but we have the knowledge and experience of one. Our law office offers one-on-one attention that is completely client-focused.
Through our approach, we aim to minimize the burden on you while you are dealing with child custody, child support, alimony, spousal support, estate planning, business law, prenuptial agreements, property division, and all of the other family law matters that go into the divorce process.
You can file an uncontested divorce without an attorney. Couples that do this, however, often regret the decision, as only an experienced law office can protect your rights. In truth, uncontested divorces are rare. In addition, those that write their own documents may end up having to go back to court and spend even more money if the document is poorly drafted. Having help from the start can save time and money.
When you are dealing with a contested divorce, especially one with significant assets requiring knowledge of business law or estate planning, or one that involves children, you need family law attorneys with years of experience. You need knowledge focused on divorce law and divorce cases, but with practice areas exceeding those.
Divorce attorneys can provide a calm and neutral perspective while acting as the legal representation you need to protect your interests. They can provide mediation assistance and help you with collaborative divorce. They can also help cut through issues like accusations of abuse or domestic violence, lying and vindictive spouses, and complicated financial issues.
A divorce lawyer offers a special set of skills and knowledge in specific legal matters. They’re not criminal defense or criminal law attorneys, and they don’t provide personal injury services or deal with DUI cases. They offer legal services focused on issues of legal separation and divorce.
The law office of Melone Hatley, P.C. can be the ally you need, just when you need it.
Uncontested divorce cases are as close to ideal as one gets with the dissolution of a relationship. If the couple has only been together for 6 months, these divorces require that the couple has no minor children and that there are no arguments or disagreements about the separation of assets. A case can also be uncontested if a couple that has children agrees on custody and visitation.
Contested divorces occur when the couple does not agree with the reason for divorce or when there is “fault” involved like abuse or crimes. The biggest difference is that contested divorces involve a dispute on one or both sides, requiring mediation and court intervention to resolve the divorce.
In an uncontested divorce, the couple must be physically separated (not living together) for six months before filing the divorce case. If you have minor children, an uncontested divorce can be filed if you are separated for at least one year. You do not need any legal separation documents; you just must prove that you were not living together. With these divorces, some paperwork is filed, affidavits are used to finalize the case, and the divorce is completed.
Some issues that may trigger a contested divorce include adultery, domestic violence and physical cruelty, desertion or abandonment, and a felony conviction resulting in incarceration for a period of at least one year. Contested cases also result if the parties dispute issues of financial division of assets or debt, visitation and child custody rights, or issues of child or spousal support and alimony.
To initiate a contested case, a complaint is filed for divorce, and the other side is served with notice. From there, the process begins including responses, discovery, negotiation, and sometimes court hearings.
There is no clear-cut answer to what the cost of a divorce is in Virginia. This is because every case is unique. You may have decisions to make regarding business assets, estate planning, children, support, your house, cars, and a wide range of material assets. Factoring these in can make divorce brief or can make it drag out for a long time.
For the most part, divorce attorneys charge between $350 to $375 per hour, and rates are normally commensurate with the attorney’s experience and track record.
How long your divorce will take depends largely on the nature of the separation. If it is a truly uncontested divorce, the timeline is typically shorter, just requiring some paperwork filing and court approval for completion. Contested divorces, on the other hand, can drag out for weeks, months, or longer depending on how difficult the division of assets and responsibilities becomes.
The best way to make sure that your divorce is as fair as possible is with help from a qualified Chesapeake divorce attorney with years of experience. Contact Melone Hatley, P.C., attorneys at law online or by calling 800-479-8124 to make sure you get what you deserve out of your divorce.
Alimony, also called spousal support, is usually awarded only if one spouse in the divorcing couple has significantly higher earnings than the other. Similarly, if a married couple has one spouse who is the sole earner and the other has no employment, alimony can be awarded to the spouse who was not working during the marriage.
The amount of alimony you may receive depends largely on the disparity of income. Alimony is designed to allow the spouse of lesser means to continue to lead a meaningful life while they seek employment or work toward getting the training and skills required to enter the workforce.
Like many parts of a divorce agreement or arrangement, alimony can be revisited in the future if the spouse receiving support begins earning significant money from employment. Your Chesapeake, VA divorce attorney can help you understand how this works and whether it applies to you.
Child custody is among the most difficult parts of any divorce. First, understand that there are two types of custody: physical custody and legal custody. Physical custody means the parent lives with the child and is responsible for their daily care. This can be sole custody, where the child lives full time with one parent, or joint custody, where the child splits time between homes.
Legal custody, on the other hand, refers to the parent who can make decisions regarding the child’s health, well-being, religion, schools, and other such issues. Like physical custody, this can be sole or joint. Physical custody may or may not be considered where issues of legal custody come into play.
Courts will consider the age, mental condition, and developmental needs of the child as well as the age, mental conditions, parental relationships, and support capabilities of each parent. Any history of family or sexual abuse will also be considered. If the child is at least age 14, the courts may also hear what they want and take it into consideration.
In some extreme cases, the child may need to be temporarily or permanently removed from the parents’ care. In such cases, they will sometimes be put into the care of a guardian ad litem, a court-appointed guardian who takes the child on as their ward. This guardian can provide independent recommendations to the courts about the best interests of the child, and may participate in mediation or court hearings regarding such issues.
Melone Hatley, P.C. are the divorce attorneys in Chesapeake, VA who know how to get things done in a compassionate but aggressive way. We have represented clients across Virginia from the Hampton Roads area, including Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Newport News, and Virginia Beach, as well as clients in Northern Virginia.
Divorce is a complicated process, but you do not have to go through it alone. We’ll treat you like family with compassion and the voice of reason you need. Check out our services for answers to some FAQs, then contact us online or call 800.479.8124 today to discuss legal representation for your divorce. We also assist with military divorce, legal separation agreements, spousal support, and more. Give us a call now to learn what we can do for you.
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